Ravens, Patriots set for another epic clash
Rest assured, even though Cary Williams didn't talk much he’s locked in on Tom Brady.
Usually easy to find, Williams, the Ravens’ top cornerback going into Sunday’s AFC championship game at the New England Patriots, had been absent from the locker room most of the week during media availability.
Brady went at Williams in Week 3, when the Patriots got out to an early lead but lost 31-30 at M&T Bank Stadium. He threw to Brandon Lloyd, who was being covered by Williams, a game-high 12 times.
“I felt like Tom seen an opportunity. It was a lot of back shoulder (throws). There were times when I got a couple slants,” said Williams, who was playing opposite of Lardarius Webb but he went down with a season-ending knee injury three weeks later. “I just think Tom is one of the best of the best. You can expect that each and every week out of him.
“But I tell you what, you won’t expect the same thing out of me though.”
Lloyd had a game-high 9 catches for 108 yards. On the Patriots’ first play of the game, Brady found him for 32 yards. They took a 13-0 lead.
“It’s a ridiculous question, so I can see why he’d be frustrated by it,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said about Williams being criticized for that performance. “Great quarterbacks like Tom Brady go after the defense. They go after whatever they feel like the route calls for, what the coverage calls for.”
Going into last week’s divisional playoff win at the Denver Broncos, Williams was miffed at all the questions he got about Peyton Manning, who shredded them in a 34-17 victory in Week 15.
Williams was beaten by Eric Decker for a 51-yard touchdown strike in the third quarter of that game. The Ravens forced Manning into 3 turnovers in the rematch and didn't give up any big plays in the 38-35 double-overtime victory.
In the wild-card playoff game before that, Williams had an interception in the 24-9 win vs. the Indianapolis Colts.
Aside from a few high-profile big plays given up by Williams, he has been one of the Ravens’ most consistent defensive players. His 5 interceptions leads the team.
With the emergence of Corey Graham at the other cornerback spot, which will Brady target Sunday?
Graham is on a roll. He intercepted Manning twice in the playoff game last week. The second one set up the game-winning field goal.
“We haven’t played them in a long time so they can have some different things in store for us. Right now we’re expecting them to pull out all the stops,” Williams said. “We’re going to be right with our fundamentals our footwork and things like that. Go back to the basics and those things will get us over the top.”
Brady only had 8 interceptions during the regular season despite throwing 40 times a game. But when he is under pressure he can be prone to turnovers. In the Patriots’ 4 losses, Brady has thrown 5 interceptions.
Williams declared he was fed up with the praiseworthy questions about Manning. Noting has changed for this weekend.
“It’s the same. As long as I’m playing I’m always going to have a chip on my shoulder. That’s just how I ride,” Williams said. “That’s just how I've always been. I play with a little edge. This game will be no different.”